Martin Luther: a Catholic Critique & Appraisal (Index Page)

Luther-13

Portrait of Martin Luther (1528), by Lucas Cranach the Elder (1472-1553) [public domain / Wikimedia Commons]
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[For those who wrongly think I am some sort of “Luther-hater” or “Luther-basher”, beyond disagreeing with his theology, and can never praise or agree with him: in many of the papers below (well beyond a score by now: see the appropriate sections below), I defend Luther (as well as, by the way, John Calvin) against myths and bum raps, cite him in agreement, or take a fairly neutral stance towards his opinion. I wrote in a paper dated March 2000: “I (like many Catholics) do admire him in certain ways. I like his passion and boldness and apparent sincerity and good intentions (though thoroughly deluded and wrongheaded). He had a great devotion to the Virgin Mary and to the Eucharist.” And in February 2001, I posted on the Catholic Convert Message Board: “I have never maintained that Luther was ‘evil’ or essentially a ‘bad’ man, nor have I ever denied his good intentions . . . No one can find those sentiments on my website.”]
For more of my opinion on Martin Luther, see the Introduction to my book, Martin Luther: Catholic Critical Analysis and Praise. A full third of that book is devoted to areas where Catholics and Luther substantially agree.
Also, my book,  The “Catholic” Luther : An Ecumenical Collection of His “Traditional” Utterances, (see the Introduction) is devoted to his statements that Catholics would agree with. 
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Asterisked papers are archived posts from Internet Archive. Please allow a few minutes to upload, and select versions from July 2015 or earlier.
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WHY LUTHER SEPARATED FROM THE CHURCH / CAUSES OF THE PROTESTANT REVOLT (aka “REFORMATION”)
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Medieval Catholic Corruption: Main Cause of Protestant Revolt? [6-2-03; revised slightly: 1-20-04; 10-10-17] [+ Facebook discussion with Lutheran pastor Ken Howes on this paper, 3-27-12]
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Luther Film (2003): Detailed Catholic Critique [10-28-03; abridged with revised links on 3-6-17]
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50 Reasons Why Martin Luther Was Excommunicated [National Catholic Register, 11-23-16]
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Myths and Facts Regarding Tetzel and Indulgences [11-25-16; published in Catholic Herald]
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LUTHER’S VIEWS OF THE CATHOLIC CHURCH HEADED BY THE POPE, TRADITION, AND THE CHURCH FATHERS
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LUTHER’S ARBITRARY CLAIMS TO ECCLESIASTICAL AUTHORITY
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LUTHER’S DISGUST AND AGONY OVER PROTESTANT SECTARIANISM AND MORAL LAXITY

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Martin Luther: “Our manner of life is as evil as is that of the papists” [12-29-07]

Zwingli, Bucer, Oecolampadius: Luther & Lutherans Not Christians [1-10-08]

Martin Luther’s Regrets as to the Relative Failure of the “Reformation” (Piety, Morals, and Inconsistencies Regarding Replacing Bishops With Princes) [5-13-08] *

Luther on Early Lutherans: “Ingrates” Who Deserve God’s “Wrath” [2-28-10] 

Luther’s Disgust Over Protestant Sectarianism and Radical Heresies [3-1-10; abridged and published in the National Catholic Register: 9-8-17] 

Martin Luther: After Lutheranism Was Preached, Germans Became More “Avaricious, Unmerciful, Impure and Wicked Than Previously Under the Papacy” [3-2-10] *

Was Luther in His Old Age in Agony & Bitter About Lutheranism? [3-3-10] 

Lutheran Edward Reiss Says I Can’t Claim Luther Was in “Agony” Over Protestant Sectarianism, Even Though Luther Himself Said Exactly That! [3-10-10] *

Luther: Monks & Priests More “Earnest” Than Lutherans [11-10-11]

Luther’s Disappointment with the “Reformation” (Series) [3-21-16]

Martin Luther as the Initiating Cause for Absurd Protestant Sectarianism [Facebook, 10-13-17]

ERASMUS-LUTHER CONTROVERSY (REASON VS. RELENTLESS RHETORIC AND INSULTS)
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“Luther Meets His Match” (Seven Parts, Feb. 2009)
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SOTERIOLOGY (THEOLOGY OF SALVATION AND JUSTIFICATION) / SOLA FIDE

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Reflections on Luther’s Novel Soteriology [1994] *

Baptismal Regeneration: Central Doctrine, According to Luther & Lutheranism [1996]

N. T. Wright and the “New Perspective” on St. Paul: Did Luther Misinterpret Paul’s Soteriology? [5-5-04; posted to Facebook on 2-22-17]

Luther’s Error Concerning Justification (N. T. Wright) [5-19-04; posted to Facebook on 2-22-17]

Luther’s “Snow-Covered Dunghill” (Myth?) [10-5-05]

Luther’s Projection of His Depression & Crises Onto St. Paul [6-1-06]

Dialogue with a Lutheran on Luther’s “Getting to a Gracious God” (vs. “CPA”) [6-4-06] *

Martin Luther: Good Works Prove Authentic Faith [4-16-08]

Luther on Theosis & Sanctification [11-23-09]

Martin Luther: God is the Author of Evil and Eternally Hates Some Men / Horse and Rider Analogy / Everything (+ Damnation) Predetermined [2-27-10] *

Martin Luther: Faith Alone is Not Lawless Antinomianism [2-28-10]

Martin Luther Clearly Taught Predestination of the Damned (Reprobate) [5-28-11] *

CHRISTOLOGY

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Luther’s Radical Early Christology: Manichaean and Gnostic Elements (Theobald Beer, Hans Urs von Balthasar, and Pope Benedict XVI) [5-26-09] *

Luther & the “Immaculate Purification” of Mary [10-2-10]

 

BAPTISM AND OTHER SACRAMENTS

Baptismal Regeneration: Central Doctrine, According to Luther & Lutheranism [1996]

“Man-Centered” Sacramentalism: The Remarkable Incoherence of James White (How Can Martin Luther and St. Augustine Be Christians According to His Definition?) [11-26-03]

Martin Luther’s Opinion of (the Catholic Sacrament of) Confirmation [4-14-08; posted to Facebook on 2-1-17]

Martin Luther on Absolution & Private Confession [4-14-08]

Martin Luther on Sacramental Confession [Facebook, 10-14-14]

 

THE EUCHARIST

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PURGATORY, PRAYERS FOR THE DEAD, AND THE COMMUNION OF SAINTS

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SOLA SCRIPTURA AND THE RULE OF FAITH
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Martin Luther on What is “Biblical” [Facebook, 11-10-14; I agree!]
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THE BIBLICAL CANON
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Luther’s Radical Views on the Biblical Canon (His Outrageous Assertions, Protestant Scholars’ Opinions & “Debate” with John Warwick Montgomery) [9-25-04]

Did Luther Deny the Canonicity of Esther? [3-24-07]

Luther’s View of the Book of Esther (Anti-Catholic Attempts to Blame Catholics for a Questionable Luther Citation Passed Down by Three Admiring Protestants) [8-20-11]

Protestant Errors Regarding Luther & the Biblical Canon (and anti-Catholic blaming of Catholic apologists for them) [8-27-11]

Casual Reference to Ecclesiasticus (Sirach) as Scripture [Facebook, 11-6-14]

Luther and the Deuterocanon / So-Called “Apocrypha”: A Summary [Facebook, 12-22-14]

 

LUTHER AND THE BLESSED VIRGIN MARY 

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PEASANTS’ REVOLT AND CAPITAL PUNISHMENT / TOLERATION ISSUES

“Reformation” Theft of Thousands of Catholic Churches [4-12-08]

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LUTHER’S COARSE AND “VIOLENT” LANGUAGE AND SANCTION OF VULGAR ART
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LUTHER ON MARRIAGE, POLYGAMY, CONCUBINAGE, BIGAMY, CELIBACY, SEXUALITY, AND WOMEN
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Did Luther Believe that Christ Committed Adultery with Mary Magdalene? [8-14-03; abridgment, further editing and minor additions: 6-2-17]
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Luther and Calvin Opposed Contraception and “Fewer Children is Better” Thinking [2-21-04; published at National Catholic Register, 9-13-17]
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LUTHER’S CLINICAL DEPRESSION AND NEUROSES (?)
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SUPERSTITIONS AND SILLINESS

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MISCELLANEOUS AND GENERAL
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DEFENSES OF MARTIN LUTHER AGAINST “ANTI-LUTHER” BUM RAPS
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“One other thing I should point out in Dave’s defense. He has, if I recall correctly, previously responded to some of the most extreme anti-Lutheran garbage out there. So, while he’s clearly on the other side of the Tiber from Luther, one should not conclude that his errors in scholarship are somehow solely the result of malice and ill-will toward Luther.” (Anti-Catholic Calvinist “Turretinfan,” 3-1-10, on a Lutheran blog)
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Did Luther Believe that Christ Committed Adultery with Mary Magdalene? [8-14-03; abridgment, further editing and minor additions: 6-2-17]
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Am I “Anti-Luther” or “Anti-Lutheran”? [5-28-09 / 1-6-15; posted to Facebook on 8-26-17]

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AGREEMENTS WITH, AND COMMENDATIONS OF LUTHER / FAIRLY NEUTRAL STANCE TOWARDS HIM
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CONTROVERSIES CONCERNING MY LUTHER RESEARCH
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Am I “Anti-Luther” or “Anti-Lutheran”? [5-28-09 / 1-6-15; posted to Facebook on 8-26-17]
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MARTIN LUTHER: PRIMARY AND SECONDARY WORKS AND BIOGRAPHIES ONLINE

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Resources: Martin Luther (exhibits some anti-Catholic bias — especially against my own Luther research — , but a comprehensive bibliographic resource for locating online Lutheriana)

Six-Volume Philadelphia Edition of Luther’s Works

Luther (Hartmann Grisar, S. J., 1914-1917) [Volumes One / Two / Three / Four / Five / Six]
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Luther on the Eve of His Revolt (M.J. Lagrange, O. P., 1917)
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Here I Stand (Roland H. Bainton [Protestant], 1950)
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Life of Luther (Julius Koestlin [Lutheran], 1881)
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The History of the Life and Acts of Luther (+ Volume Two) (Philip Melanchthon, 1548; translated by T. Frazel, 1995)

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Links to Additional Luther-Related Writings

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Last Updated: 16 October 2017.

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  • https://www.blogger.com/profile/04297455192783722594 Sophia’s Lover

    Dave or anyone else, which is the sermon that Luther preached in which he tells his congregation that if the devil tells them they are worthless, they are to respond, ''I know that I deserve Hell; what of it''? I saw this depicted in the movie ''Luther'', thought it was a fine homily, and would love to read the actual text (assuming the sermon actually exists, of course).

    Thanks.

  • https://www.blogger.com/profile/16971132944684765473 Ben M

    The statement of Luther you are refering to appears in a letter to Jerome Weller, July 1530.

    “When the Devil attacks and torments us, we must completely set aside the whole Decalogue. When the devil throws our sins up to us and declares that we deserve death and hell, we ought to speak thus: "I admit that I deserve death and hell. What of it?”

    Luther: Letters of Spiritual Counsel, Theodore G. Tappert, ed., p. 86.

  • https://www.blogger.com/profile/04297455192783722594 Sophia’s Lover

    Thank you so much, Ben M.

    -Pito

  • https://www.blogger.com/profile/16971132944684765473 Ben M

    Hi Pito,

    You're welcome … and sorry for the delayed response).

    Now below is Luther’s German from the St. Louis (SL) edition of his Works. The SL is a revision of the earlier Walch edition.

    Here's how the letter is introduced:

    No. 1649. (Feste Colburg.) (July ? 1530).

    "An Hieronymus Weller in Wittenberg" "To Jerome Weller in Wittenberg."

    “Luther tröstet ihn wiederum wegen seiner schwermuth” (“Luther consoles him again for his depression”).

    Luther's German:

    “Wir müssen ganz und gar das ganze Gesetz (decalogus) aus den augen und herzen setzen, wir, sage ich, welche der Teufel so angreift und quält. Wenn nun der Teufel uns einmal unsere Sünden vorhält und uns des Todes und der Hölle schuldig macht, dann müssen wir so sagen: Ich gestehe zwar, daß ich des Todes und der Hölle schuldig sei; was folgt nun weiter daraus?”

    In Dr. Martin Luthers Sämmtliche Schriften, Volume 21, Part 1, Johann Georg Walch, St. Louis, 1903, cols. 1532-1535.

    Note that Google gives a not too mangled translation (after I had transcribed the old German of course!). But good to see machine translations are getting better, though they are still not quite ready for primetime!).